Could Tina Fey have been the next host of "Late Show with David Letterman" -- which would have had to be renamed "Late Show with Tina Fey"?
Play along with me on this speculation, because everyone else already has: She's more telegenic than the current proprietor (sorry Dave, just true). She's talented, funny, smart, personable and eager to perform -- Dave's very words in introducing her on Thursday's program for the 20th time.
But could this have been an option? In that recent exit interview with the Times, Letterman himself indicated he might have suggested a female successor or an African-American host had he been asked by CBS. He's certainly right about a void -- this remains a very white and very male domain on the broadcast networks.
Why not Tina, to makes things different, and exciting, and balanced? Fey in fact has pretty much been at the top of all of those "who can replace so-and-so" lists in recent months. Jon Stewart's leaving? What's Tina Fey up to next year?
Honestly, everything. Besides the "Kimmy Schmidt" renewal at Netflix, she's starring in two forthcoming movies -- the first with Amy Poehler (who is also a habitue of those who's-next lists) and another with Margot Robbie with the evocative title "The Taliban Shuffle." She's developing some more movies, more shows, including one with Fortune Feimster, whom you may remember from "Chelsea Lately."
During her appearance on Thursday's "Late Show," the subject of ever doing a show like this did not come up. She was too busy giving Dave her dress.
But what this interview and bit proved yet again, as if it needed to be proved yet again, is that she would be perfect in this role: funny (a given); knows how to tell stories; fast on the uptake (essential); and she really knows know to slay a crowd with a joke that pretty much establishes both her courage and capacity for self-mockery.
Fey could do this. Alas ... she doesn't want to. Oh, right -- and the jobs already taken. I think his name is Stephen Colbert.